Page:Departmental Ditties and Ballads and Barrack-Room Ballads, Kipling, 1899.djvu/180

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Beyond the path of the outmost sun, through utter darkness hurled,
Further than ever comet flared or vagrant star-dust swirled,
Sit such as fought and sailed and ruled and loved and made our world.


They are purged of pride because they died; they know the worth of their bays;
They sit at wine with the Maidens Nine, and the Gods of the Elder Days—
It is their will to serve or be still as fitteth our Father's praise.


'Tis theirs to sweep through the ringing deep where Azrael's outposts are,
Or buffet a path through the Pit's red wrath when God goes out to war,
Or hang with the reckless Seraphim on the rein of a redmaned star.


They take their mirth in the joy of the earth—they dare not grieve for her pain—
For they know of toil and the end of toil—they know God's Law is plain;
So they whistle the Devil to make them sport who know that sin is vain.


And ofttimes cometh our wise Lord God, master of every trade,
And tells them tales of the Seventh Day—of Edens newly made,
And they rise to their feet as He passes by—gentlemen unafraid.